Aug 20, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies offensive coordinator Scot Loefflerat during practice at the Steve Johnson Practice Fields. Mandatory Scot Loeffler has a lot of work to doCredit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Virginia Tech went down yesterday to Duke though it was not due to the defense as Virginia Tech only gave up 13 points and 198 total yards. However, the Virginia Tech offense had one of its worst performances of its season which continues to frustrate fans. The Hokies didn’t score a single point in the first half against a Duke defense that gave up 58 to Pittsburgh and 38 to Georgia Tech. The Virginia Tech offense has some big issues that will need to be fixed if the Hokies are to get to the ACC Championship.
The first major issue for the Hokies is the fact that Logan Thomas seems to be dumping the ball off most of the time to the running back or the underneath receiver. These players seem to be the first or second option in a play which is going to lead to a lack of yards and longer 3rd down situations. Logan Thomas only averaged 5.6 yards per pass completion today and is averaging around 6 yards a completion. This number is below acceptable but they are some simple play calling changes that can allow the Hokies to improve this.
Virginia Tech needs to look at some of the spread offenses and open up the field with 3 and 4 receiver formation. Players like Joshua Stanford, Dimitri Knowles, and Willie Byrn are showing improvement but they are still not being given the best opportunities to make plays. Using some spread plays will allow the Hokies to force some holes in the secondary and allow Thomas to pick apart the defenses.
Oct 26, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas (3) tries to avoid the tackle of Duke Blue Devils defensive end Jonathan Woodruff (34) during the third quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
The second issue is the fact that Logan Thomas has almost become the featured running back while Scot Loeffler seems undecided between Trey Edmunds and JC Coleman. The Hokies are not doing much to set up quality rushing opportunities for Edmunds and Coleman. Loeffler is also trying to use Coleman as a normal back but really, Coleman is a speed player that should get opportunities on the outside instead of up the gut. This is another issue that Loeffler and Virginia Tech can fix by changing some of their play calling decisions.
Logan Thomas has proven that he can be a quarterback that can run some option and JC Coleman is the type of big play back that could make big plays in a speed option. Virginia Tech also needs to run more spread plays to open up some halfback draws for Trey Edmunds to go up the gut and get 5+ yards. Virginia Tech has seen that Trey Edmunds has the talent to be the featured running back and Loeffler should start giving Edmunds 20+ carries a game.
The final issues is the fact that Logan Thomas occassionally makes throws that just make Tech wonder what happened there. Thomas has thrown plenty of passes and while even the best quarterbacks occassionally have bad passes, Thomas has way too many. Some of these bad throwns are due to the struggles that a young Virginia Tech offensive line is having. The rest of the bad throws seem to be somewhat unexplainable and can’t happen if Virginia Tech is going to get to the ACC Championship.
The Virginia Tech offensive line lacks experience and Hokies’ fans should be excited about the future of this unit. However, the lack of experience for the offensive line could lead to continued pressure on Thomas. One way Loeffler can make this issue smaller is by throwing in more quick slants which can allow for 8+ yards with Thomas facing minimal pressure. Thomas also needs to work on his footwork and accuracy because if he continues to struggle, Thomas’s draft stock could fall a lot more.